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Default Mass Effect - Reviews @ IGN, TeamXBox

November 19th, 2007, 17:46
Gamebanshee has posted a link to two in depth and extremely positive reviews for Bioware's space-themed rpg for the XBox360, Mass Effect:
The first is from IGN, with a score of 9.4/10:
There are three primary character classes in Mass Effect; the solider, the engineer, and the biotic user. Hybrids that mix various aspects of each are also available. The kicker is that they all play vastly different from one another in combat. Based on your class, you'll have access to various powers (the biotics have more than a passing resemblance to the force powers you used in Knights of the Old Republic), technical skills, weapons and armor. The biotic class can use every power, but can only use light armor and pistols. The soldier only gets a single biotic power, but can use any weapon and heavier armor. The engineer, an afterthought class in many other games, steps up in Mass Effect to be a force of its own. He or she can hack locked consoles for info or loot, but can also be a powerhouse in battle. Many of the enemies in Mass Effect are mechanical in design and the engineer has skills geared specifically for taking them down.
From TeamXBox, 9.6/10:
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that Mass Effect utilizes a unique dialogue system to progress the story. Essentially, you’ll begin speaking to another character, and a circular dialogue tree will appear at the bottom of the screen before they are finished talking. This allows you to queue up your responses so the conversation flows more realistically and naturally than in previous games. It’s a good system, although there were times that I accidentally chose my response while tapping X to get through some of the lengthier conversations. Make no mistake about it, this is an RPG in every sense of the word, and features some of the longest conversations in recent memory. I actually turned on the captions so I could get through them a bit faster, allowing me to move on to the next part with a simple tap of the X button…
Depending on how you treat your fellow galactic citizens, you’ll earn points in either your Paragon or Renegade gauges. If you want to be a jerk, you’ll quickly add points to your Renegade gauge, while being a nice guy will do the same for the other one. Unfortunately, the good/evil mechanic really doesn’t come into play at all, which will probably come as a disappointment to anyone who played KotOR or Jade Empire. You might be able to access a few more side missions by leaning one way over the other, but that’s pretty much it. People won’t cower in fear if you’re the baddest man in the universe, and women won’t throw themselves at your feet if you’re Mr. Nice Guy. Basically, the only decision that matters comes at the end of the game, making every decision that came before it feel a bit hollow.
Of course, none of that “shades of grey” stuff really matters when you’re in combat, which is where you’ll spend a good deal of your time. Unlike the previous BioWare console RPGs, the combat is in real-time, so you’ll have to rely on your third-person action skills as much as your tactical knowledge. It’s basically a third-person action game when you’re in combat, with the right trigger firing your weapon and the left zooming in your weapon. The interesting thing here is that certain classes are trained in the use of certain weapons and will be able to improve their skills (and unlock new ones) as they gain experience…
More information.
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November 19th, 2007, 17:46
Those mainstream reviews are getting more and more irritating.

From the IGN review:

The framerate in Mass Effect is as erratic as they come. This isn't something that happens occasionally. It happens incessantly. The game also has issues loading textures in when you enter a new environment. Flat, boring scenery gets filled in with details piece by piece for a few moments each time you load in.

We would be remiss if we didn't mention Mass Effect's numerous bugs and glitches. Clipping through the scenery is a regular occurrence, particularly when you make use of the singularity biotic. Shepard has a displeasing tendency to get stuck in objects, sometimes in the midst of battle. It happens to NPCs as well — it isn't nearly as frustrating but it does kill your sense of immersion when an enemy "phases" through a wall. On occasion, the game stopped registering our button presses. Rarely, Mass Effect even went the whole nine yards and locked up.
Yet the score is 9.4 and that's the same site that gave The Wither 6.5 in the presentation category because of 'big bugs' , lowering its overall score to 8.5.

Reading those reviews it is clear that Mass Effect is an extremely linear adventure with severe technical problems, yet there is little doubt that it will be getting 9+ scores across the board and the RPG of the year award. Marketing seems to be more important than quality in this case (and not only).

“Of all the journeys you will undertake in this life, uncovering the secrets you hide from yourself is the most dangerous voyage of all.” – Shyha Tuhlwin, Therish Philosopher
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November 19th, 2007, 18:41
Not sure if Im just paranoid but console games especially xbox360 ones seem to get over 94%+ scores fairly often. Its like there is som "auto 94%+" system for som games.

On another board som played the (warez?) version though in 13h. Considering the game costs almost 70€ I think its too short.
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November 19th, 2007, 20:58
Maybe on the Xbox 360 Mass Effect is something special. Is there any other RPG on the console like it? On IGN the guys who play the games of a certain console seem to be reviewing all the games arriving on that console, maybe they haven't seen a good RPG for the XBox 360 for a long time and give it good scores because of that.

Seems very unjust when compared to the scores the Witcher got, agree with Lethal Weapon on that.

A site called TeamXBox reviewing a game for said platform also gets me very sceptical as to how much you can trust a review by them…

(I wonder if I've said I'm new here, well, I'm saying so now )
Last edited by ironanno; November 19th, 2007 at 21:01. Reason: typo
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November 19th, 2007, 21:30
It's true, western RPG's are very under-represented on Xbox 360 right now. I can think of none. There are a few jRPG's out, most notable Blue Dragon, Eternal Sonata, but that's about it. That shouldn't make reviewers forget about bugs, though. I can see them turning a blind eye when it's not really in the way of all the fantastic other content a game has to offer… and then it really has to be awesome. So maybe it is, I don't know.
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November 19th, 2007, 21:31
As far as Western RPG's go, Oblivion is about it, and it came out more than a year and a half ago.
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November 19th, 2007, 21:35
Two Worlds.

-= RPGWatch =-
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November 20th, 2007, 00:15
Ok now the reviewers are saying its the best thing ever since sliced bread. "You must buy xbox360 just to get this game!!!!". Like I havent heard that before "You must buy console X just to get game Y - its that good!".
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November 20th, 2007, 02:02
Ahh but you're missing the great Matt Peckham's review:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,13…1/article.html

60% ouch.
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November 20th, 2007, 03:06
I'm guessing it won't be viewed as the greatest RPG ever made but 60% practically seems crazy, like it's a troll to get attention for the magazine.
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November 20th, 2007, 03:09
Looks like matt is gonna take som flak for that (Recommend this story Yes 89 Votes No 832 Votes)…everyone else is praising it as the "manna that drops from sky":

Electronic Gaming Monthly 9.2 / 10 Dec 25, 2007
Official Xbox Magazine 10 / 10 Dec 25, 2007
Hardcore Gamer Magazine 4 / 5 Dec 1, 2007
Xbox World 360 Magazine UK 90 / 100 Nov 19, 2007
Gamer 2.0 9.2 / 10 Nov 19, 2007
VideoGamer 10 / 10 Nov 19, 2007
Cheat Code Central 4.8 / 5 Nov 18, 2007
Video Game Talk 4.5 / 5 Nov 15, 2007
Game Informer 9.8 / 10 Nov 1, 2007
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November 20th, 2007, 04:14
I try not to get mad over how overrated a game is and rather enjoy it for its own merits. Everyone calls Halo overrated for example, but I loved it. It's extremely fun, especially in co-op, and has a great sleek, bright, lighter art style than most modern FPS titles with their dark, war-torn atmosphere. I feel pretty much the same way about Mass Effect. And after MotB and the Witcher, which were more complex, darker, and involved more role-playing, I'm definitely not against romping through BioWare's epic space opera, even if it is linear and has its drawbacks. I'm looking forward to it, in fact.
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November 20th, 2007, 09:55
I like that view, although Dhruin's comment somewhere did put things in perspective. I mean, this is an RPG site and people here are of the old-school BG2 sort. I still can't fathom the "it has to be this type of RPG with a) complexity, b) 100+ skills/spells, c) no-level scaling, d) non-linear, e) 40+ hours gamplay, etc." mindset. I can understand that people like that sort of game, but I think it's interesting to see the Dreamfalls of the RPG genre emerge. Dumbing down? Maybe, but with glorious cinematic brilliance!

It's still interesting to read opinions from the other end of the spectrum so you know what to expect. You shouldn't go into Mass Effect expecting Baldur's Gate 2. Nonetheless, maybe I'm biased, because I hope this game is a great RPG. Like I said, there are only a handful of those on the platform.

(And I totally forgot about Oblivion and Two Worlds on Xbox 360, doh!)
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November 20th, 2007, 11:25
Originally Posted by Lethal Weapon View Post
Yet the score is 9.4 and that's the same site that gave The Wither 6.5 in the presentation category because of 'big bugs' , lowering its overall score to 8.5.
I have to add: presentation is more than just lack of bugs. To contrast: Gamespot gave The Witcher the same score as Mass Effect (8.5) and complains about bugs in Mass Effect as well.

Originally Posted by woges View Post
Ahh but you're missing the great Matt Peckham's review:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,13…1/article.html

60% ouch.
That's the guy who gave such erratic scores to several other games (among them Halo 3), right? Well, it looks like bias, anyway. Might still contain some useful insights.
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November 20th, 2007, 11:57
Solid RPGs on consoles usually get incredible ratings, comparing the games only to other console titles. On the PC the RPGs are often compared to the truly great ones, which lowers their score.

The games aren't better/worse on consoles, it's just a different context.
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November 20th, 2007, 13:28
Kevin VanOrd at Gamspot is an OK reviewer. I don't know why texture pop-in seems to be dragged up a lot at the moment though - seems a lot of games stream in the textures because of the amount of memory and load times required otherwise. I can forgive texture pop-in a lot more than dull gameplay.
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November 20th, 2007, 14:14
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
(PC World review)
That's the guy who gave such erratic scores to several other games (among them Halo 3), right? Well, it looks like bias, anyway. Might still contain some useful insights.
I take that back. That review is ridiculous. It reads as if he was actively trying to insert as many negative remarks as he could. I don't have a problem with pointing out flaws, but when done with such ferocity and irrelevant comparisons, it starts to show an agenda. Even most of what all the other reviews mark as good aspects are here shot down with a silly argument. I think that this review should ruffle the feathers of more than a few hardcore role-players as well, because it always feels like the guy hates every RPG mechanic out there (even though he mentioned Baldur's Gate 2 as one of the great classics at the start of the article, something that actually surprised me). To make matters worse, this review is divided in sixteen pages, containing one paragraph each. What utter garbage. Is this professional journalism?

I'll let his conclusion sum it up. Somehow he manages to mock people who like good graphics, old-school adventure fans and Halo 3 fanbois (or anti-fanboi's, I'm not sure) in one breath. I think he's just trolling.

Originally Posted by Matt Peckham
Bottom Line: Overhyped
If you're easily swayed by visual beauty or still get a kick out of old-school conversation-driven adventure games, or you're simply nostalgic to the point of myopia, Mass Effect has maybe a dozen hours to offer of main story and a dozen more in side quests. But calling it a disappointingly overhyped encore to Microsoft's main holiday act, Halo 3, isn't much of a stretch after you've tallied time bouncing ceaselessly between glorified (albeit pretty) talking heads.
Originally Posted by woges View Post
Kevin VanOrd at Gamspot is an OK reviewer. I don't know why texture pop-in seems to be dragged up a lot at the moment though - seems a lot of games stream in the textures because of the amount of memory and load times required otherwise. I can forgive texture pop-in a lot more than dull gameplay.
I guess it's because this seems to be a problem most Unreal Engine 3 games have. Gears of War had it, too, but I didn't really care so much. Pop-in has been an issue for years, in some form or another, but when it's not too much in the foreground, it's not that hard to ignore. Once it's all loaded, things go smoothly, so it's mostly an issue when you've moving forward, anyway.
Last edited by Thaurin; November 20th, 2007 at 14:35.
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November 20th, 2007, 14:33
Is this the guy that wrote that controversial NWN2 review a year ago? I wouldn't really take it seriously.
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November 20th, 2007, 14:36
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
I have to add: presentation is more than just lack of bugs. To contrast: Gamespot gave The Witcher the same score as Mass Effect (8.5) and complains about bugs in Mass Effect as well.
His other complaints were about inventory and loading times and from what I've been reading Mass Effect does not exactly excel in those departments. If you read the IGN Witcher review he does not even describe what those 'big bugs' are, apart from Vista-specific crashes, in contrast check my quote above from IGN for the technical issues of Mass Effect. The truth of the matter is that the Witcher is a highly polished and bug-free game; 6.5 for presentation? No way.

Gamespot seems to be more impartial, but then again they too seem to often give inflated scores, see for example Assassin's Creed and Crysis. It has to be said though that the content of their PC reviews is better than IGN's, although sort. Personally I have learned to trust only player reviews, they have nothing to gain or loose by telling the truth.

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Last edited by Lethal Weapon; November 20th, 2007 at 15:32.
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November 20th, 2007, 14:56
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
Is this the guy that wrote that controversial NWN2 review a year ago? I wouldn't really take it seriously.
Yerp. To be fair NWN2 was a bit of a mess at release but I never read his review - I haven't read that ME review either.
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